Maryland resident, Adam Michael Nettina, has been charged with threatening LGBTQ+ rights group the Human Rights Campaign in what authorities believe to be a reaction to the March 27 mass shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nettina has been charged with interstate communications containing a threat to injure for allegedly leaving a menacing voicemail on March 28, threatening to “slaughter,” shoot, and assault members of the organisation.
Investigators say Nettina’s voicemail appears to reference the Nashville shooting, where Nashville police reported that the school shooter identified as transgender, having been assigned female at birth, but used he/him pronouns on a linked social media account.
According to The Department of Justice, Nettina’s voicemail stated, “You guys going to shoot up our schools now? Is that how it’s going to be? We’re waiting. And if you want a war, we’ll have a war.”
Nettina’s threats come amid growing concerns from LGBTQ+ groups regarding anti-LGBTQ hate and violence.
Despite statistics showing that transgender individuals are four times more likely to be victims of violence, some leading Republicans have promoted anti-transgender rhetoric and suggested that the Nashville shooter’s gender identity played a part in the incident.
In a statement to ABC News, Elizabeth Bibi, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said, “This violent, hateful rhetoric leads to stigma, and stigma leads to physical violence,” adding that as radical politicians spread hate and fear against the LGBTQ+ community, the threats of physical violence against them have increased.
“Transgender and nonbinary people are much more likely to be victims of violence, rather than the perpetrator of it,” Bibi said while calling for “common-sense” gun safety measures.
Nettina faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison if convicted.